Car won't start in cold despite brand new battery

My 2009 Kia Spectra won’t start when the weather is extremely cold. I live in NH, right on the coast, and the car’s parking spot affords it no protection from strong winds that we get here and therefore low temps. There was a cold spell with winds roughly a month ago and the following morning the car wouldnt start. the electronics inside still worked, but it didnt start. when it warmed up later that day it started up normally. the same series of events has been repeating itself over this last bit of cold weather, so i replaced the battery (upgrading from 550 CCA to 650 CCA). II went to start it this morning and , oncce again, it won’t start. i’ve had an oil change with all the fluids checked and replaced or filled just a couple days ago. The car will start in the morning with jumper cables. Does anyone know what might be going on here?

I have to assume that “won’t start” means that it won’t crank over at all. What you’d need to do is start by measuring the actual battery voltage. Having other things work won’t tell you anything about that (like lights and stuff) Fully charged it should be about 12.7V. If its getting down to 12.3V or so then you’re likely to have problems. If, even with the new battery this is a problem then you need to look for a parasitic drain - something pulling too much power when the car is off.

If the battery voltage is fine, then you move to checking, cleaning, and tightening the main battery cable connections. Then onto checking for 12V at the s wire on the starter solenoid.

You battery, btw, does care about the temps, but not the wind. Windchill applies to warm blooded mammals - otherwise its just about the air’s temp whether the air is moving or not.

does it matter if i check the voltage after the car has been jumped and driven somewhere, or should i check the voltage as it is now - dead. and yes, i meant that it won’t even attempt to turn over. any ideas as to what the parasitic leaks might be - and how i should go about checking for them? thanks.

You would want to check the voltage when it isn’t cranking. When you jump it and run it, the alternator will top off the charge. You need to know what is up when it won’t run.

Here’s a simple guide for how to check for parasitic draw - all predicated on whether you have an electrical meter or not: You’re only doing this if you are finding that the battery keeps losing some power overnight. When you park it after having run it around quite a bit it should end up at about 12.7V after having been parked for a few minutes. It should still be pretty close to 12.7 the next morning, but if it has gone so low that it won’t crank the car, that’s usually from parasitic draw.

Check it when it won’t start. Also, need to clean and tighten ground connections to engine and chassis. Also, when it’s running check the across the battery when running and see if you get at least 13.5v. This will tell that the alternator is charging. Starter is probably worn and solenoid is sticking and it takes the extra juice to get it going.

is it possible for a parasitic leak to only when it is very cold outside?

A parasitic draw is not likely to be due to cold (though I’d say not outside the realm of possibility. But the battery does have a harder time when it is cold. So a small draw down could make a difference.

Honestly, I think that you just need to clean and tighten your cables connections. But knowing the battery voltage when it won’t crank is key. It points you in a different direction.

If the starter motor isn’t working while accessories like the headlights and other things such as the blower work okay then the trouble with the starter circuit is most likely due to a problem with the safety switch for the starter. That will make it seem the battery is low but really isn’t. It is always a good idea to clean the battery connections when you have a starting problem. Most starting issues are caused by dirty battery connections, though that may not be the case here.

very odd with new battery car fails to crank properly. its a tiny 4cyl. you would think the battery is small even to begin with. you said 450-500 cca size? we had trouble jumping a car with booster cables and finally figured out the battery terminal had a lot of corrosion. we put the jump pack on the aux + post and car cranked fine. once we took off battery terminal we saw corrosion. but you have new battery so i assume terminals are fine

the battery has 650 cca…jump starting the car is no longer working either. the terminals’ connections are very clean and tight.

i was able to jump start it yesterday when this happened but today the problem seems a bit worse.

The battery terminals are only one end of the cables. You need to worry about the other end - the positive at the starter and power distribution and the negative everyplace that goes and grounds out.

Do the headlights and blower work okay even though you can’t start the engine? If they do refer to my previous post. If they don’t work either you need to check for power getting to the fuse panel under the hood. A smaller wire from the battery supplies power to it and if that connection has trouble you will have all sorts of things that won’t work.

after charging the new battery for about 435 mins and then changing the charger’s setting to “boost” the car started! do you still think i should check the other ends of the battery cables?
or any new insights based on this? thank you.

45 minutes, not 435

That doesn’t really answer too many questions since it leaves similar possibilities. Intermittent non-starting can easily come from poor cables or cable connections. (That’s one of the most common causes, in fact). So it could be a coincidence. Or it might indicate that there is a parasitic draw so the charging and boosting brought the battery back up to the ability to start the car. Or it still leaves open the possibility of a failing starter since they will often be intermittent when they begin to fail.

So, it remains the case that you need to be able to check the battery voltage. If the battery voltage is fine when you park it, but low when it won’t start then you look for a parasitic drain. If the battery voltage remains fine, then you try to start it from neutral as Cougar suggested. If that makes no difference, you look at the other ends of the cables and you wonder about the starter. A couple of things to do there is 1) find out whether 12V is going to the s wire on the starter when the key is turned. This is the small wire connection. The other one is much fatter and is the other end of the positive cable. It should carry 12V all of the time. If the s wire gets voltage, 2) thump the starter with a block of wood or something and see if that gets a kick out of it. If 12V isn’t getting to the s wire on the starter then you go back to the starter relay and find out if it is getting power from the the ignition switch.

09 car. Not old. New battery. No crank. Starter? Or cable? If u can put a charger on battery. Even 2hrs will crank motor if you have good battery. U say urs is new so we can only assume its really a good battery. Point is, put in a known good battery. Does car crank?

Kias are notorious for not starting in cold weather. I had a co worker with a 1999 sephia and when it would get below -5 it would not start, he ended up leaving it running when it got colder than 0. His would crank but not start, almost if it was flooded. He tried everything, gas line antifreeze, different gas, spark plugs, new coils ect…

Search for kia starting problems in cold, many people have trouble starting Kias in cold weather, One guy had a kia with 1000 miles on it and it wouldn’t start in the cold.

The OP states,
"after charging the new battery for about 45 mins and then changing the charger’s setting to “boost” the car started! do you still think i should check the other ends of the battery cables?
or any new insights based on this? "
I’ll answer with, maybe it’ll help. You could see if it does.

It would help us more I think if you would answer our direct questions to you about the trouble. There is a logical method to figuring out where the problem is at. So I’ll ask you again. Do things like the headlights and blower work okay when the starter doesn’t work? And as Judge Judy would say, “the answer would be either yes or no” .

The headlights and blower are good.

I cannot see the connection to the starter. I got the car up, rolled under, and the starter is terribly obscured. As far as I can see the connection looked good, but I could not see it well.

I’ve tried warming the engine with a blow dryer but that didn’t work. Then, when I was in a pinch, I poured a pot of hot water over where the starter is…and it worked. And it has worked 100% of the time when the car won’t start.